NEW YORK (AP) – The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Will Smith was asked to leave for Sunday’s Oscars after hitting Chris Rock, but declined.
Many have wondered why Smith was allowed to sit front row at the Academy Awards after the incident. On Wednesday, the academy suggested it was trying to remove the actor from the public.
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“Things unfolded in a way that we could not have foreseen,” the academy said. “While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and declined, we also recognize that we could have handled the situation differently.”
The academy’s board of directors met on Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations of the group’s standards of conduct. The academy said Smith has the opportunity to defend himself in a written response before the board meets again on April 18. The academy said disciplinary action against Smith could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.
The film academy previously condemned Smith’s attack on Rock onstage. But it used stronger language on Wednesday.
“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness personally and on television,” the academy said. Rock, we apologize for what you went through on our stage and thank you for your resilience at that time. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what happened during what should have been a celebratory event.”
On Monday, Smith apologized to Rock, the academy and the viewers, saying, “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
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